Michael funded his MSc in Sustainable Energy at the University of Strathclyde with a scholarship from the ScottishPower Foundation programme
Why did you decide to pursue a postgraduate course?
After studying clean technology and renewable energy for four years as an undergraduate, I knew that I wanted to learn more about the industry and thought the best way to do this would be further education.
Why did you choose this course and institution?
Strathclyde is well known for being a top engineering university, especially the department of mechanical engineering. Having read more information about the course and what it entailed, I could really see myself gaining a lot of experience and knowledge there. Having researched the job market, I also felt it was important to choose a Masters that provided other skills such as project management and energy policy.
How did you fund your postgraduate study?
The only way I could fund my postgraduate degree was to look for a scholarship. I learned about the ScottishPower Foundation Scholarship programme and was lucky enough to obtain a place. The scholarship was fantastic and provided me with real security. It covered my full enrolment costs and a really generous living allowance. This was important as my workload was quite heavy and the money allowed me to focus on my studies and get the most from the course instead of worrying about taking up a part-time job.
How did you find out about funding?
I was looking at a number of postgraduate websites and I saw an advert on the side of the page. At this point I didn't know anything about the programme. Within a few days I decided to apply.
Tell us about the course…
I found the course extremely beneficial and it incorporated a mixture of lectures, tutorials, site visits, group and individual study. You also spend a significant amount of your time working through group and individual projects where you will learn a lot. One of the best experiences is getting to work with people from all over the world. If you enjoy energy and related topics, this is the best choice for you.
What did the course teach you that your first degree did not?
Depending on your first degree the engineering modules will be different or an extension to what you have already been taught, so it will give you a chance to revise and learn more specific topics related to energy. You will also get the chance to study smaller modules in finance, project management and policy. You realise once you reach the work place how this becomes very important.
How did postgraduate life differ to undergraduate?
The workload is slightly more however you will learn a lot from the best professors and teachers in the country. You will also be introduced to a lot of research and development in renewable energy study. The course offers so much variety, one day you will be working in a group project and the other you could have a mixture of technical lectures along with a practical.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of further study?
I don't see any disadvantages to continuing. You should always be looking how to increase your knowledge and a Masters is a perfect way to do this.
What have you done since graduation?
I recently finished an engineering graduate scheme with SP Energy Networks. Since then I've moved to Madrid to take up a role on an international programme as a technical support project engineer for Iberdrola Distribución Eléctrica, a partner company of ScottishPower.